F1 Wagyu prices for heifers and steers weighing between 200-400kg live-weight appear to have softened over 2022 according to monthly average price data sourced from the Auctions Plus Livestock BI platform. Indeed, since the peak last year the price for average F1 heifers and steers has eased from 1758c/kg cwt in August 2021 to 1071c/kg cwt as of April 2022.
On a percentage spread basis, the F1 Wagyu premium has eroded from near 80% last year to relatively flat premiums currently. The last time we saw this kind of erosion to the premium was when the Wagyu market was somewhat flooded with first cross stock and Wagyu premiums (at least those traded via Auctions Plus) went to a discount spread during 2018/19. At the time it was claimed among industry participants that Wagyu traded direct were still earning premiums (circa 30-40%) but the F1 Wagyu stock traded on the Auctions Plus platform were there to be cleared if unable to move them via alternative channels at a premium price.
Unfortunately, for the Wagyu sector there is limited price transparency available. It would be beneficial to have an independently reported selection of public indicators for a handful of Wagyu categories to enable participants to track how the sector is performing compared to the broader cattle market. In celebration of Star Wars day (May the fourth be with you) we are calling for more price transparency in the Wagyu industry, so the force can be Wagyu.